Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Notice of availability and request for public comment.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), on behalf of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), seeks comment on the interim environmental review of the proposed U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The interim environmental review is available at http://www.ustr.gov/environment/environmental.shtml. Copies of the review will also be sent to interested members of the public by mail upon request.
Comments on the draft environmental review are requested no later than October 15, 2003, and earlier if possible. Comments received before September 15, 2003, will be used to inform the seventh round of negotiations, currently scheduled for September 15-19. Comments received after September 15, 2003, will be used to inform subsequent rounds of negotiations. After the seventh round, two more rounds of negotiations are scheduled, with the concluding round in December 2003.Start Further Info Start Printed Page 51823
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
For procedural questions concerning public comments, contact Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, TPSC, Office of the USTR, 1724 F Street, NW., Washington, DC 20508, telephone (202) 395-3475. Questions concerning the environmental review, or requests for copies, should be addressed to Alice Mattice or David Brooks, Environment and Natural Resources Section, Office of the USTR, telephone 202-395-7320.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
The Trade Act of 2002, signed by the President on August 6, 2002, provides that the President shall conduct environmental reviews of [certain] trade agreements consistent with Executive Order 13121—Environmental Review of Trade Agreements (64 FR 63,169, Nov. 18, 1999) and its implementing guidelines (65 FR 79,442, Dec. 19, 2000) and report on such reviews to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate. The Order and guidelines are available at http://www.ustr.gov/environment/environmental.shtml.
The purpose of environmental reviews is to ensure that policymakers and the public are informed about reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts of trade agreements (both positive and negative), to identify complementarities between trade and environmental objectives, and to help shape appropriate responses if environmental impacts are identified. Reviews are intended to be one tool, among others, for integrating environmental information and analysis into the fluid, dynamic process of trade negotiations. USTR and the Council on Environmental Quality jointly oversee implementation of the Order and Guidelines. USTR, through the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), is responsible for conducting the individual reviews.
In order to facilitate prompt processing of submissions of comments, the Office of the United States Trade Representative strongly urges and prefers e-mail submissions in response to this notice. Persons submitting comments by e-mail should use the following e-mail address: FR0097@ustr.gov with the subject line: “CAFTA Interim Environmental Review.” Documents should be submitted as either WordPerfect, MSWord, or text (.TXT) files. Persons who make submissions by e-mail should not provide separate cover letters; information that might appear in a cover letter should be included in the submission itself. To the extent possible, any attachments to the submission should be included in the same file as the submission itself, and not as separate files. If submission by e-mail is impossible, comments should be made by facsimile to (202) 395-6143, attention: Gloria Blue.
Written comments will be placed in a file open to public inspection in the USTR Reading Room at 1724 F Street, NW., Washington DC. An appointment to review the file may be made by calling (202) 395-6186. The Reading Room is open to the public from 10-12 a.m. and from 1-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.Start Signature
Chair, Trade Policy Staff Committee.
[FR Doc. 03-22035 Filed 8-27-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3190-01-P